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Modifications to toxic CUG RNAs induce structural stability, rescue mis-splicing in a myotonic dystrophy cell model and reduce toxicity in a myotonic dystrophy zebrafish model.

ABSTRACT: CUG repeat expansions in the 3' UTR of dystrophia myotonica protein kinase (DMPK) cause myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). As RNA, these repeats elicit toxicity by sequestering splicing proteins, such as MBNL1, into protein-RNA aggregates. Structural studies demonstrate that CUG repeats can form A-form helices, suggesting that repeat secondary structure could be important in pathogenicity. To evaluate this hypothesis, we utilized structure-stabilizing RNA modifications pseudouridine (?) and 2'-O-methylation to determine if stabilization of CUG helical conformations affected toxicity. CUG repeats modified with ? or 2'-O-methyl groups exhibited enhanced structural stability and reduced affinity for MBNL1. Molecular dynamics and X-ray crystallography suggest a potential water-bridging mechanism for ?-mediated CUG repeat stabilization. ? modification of CUG repeats rescued mis-splicing in a DM1 cell model and prevented CUG repeat toxicity in zebrafish embryos. This study indicates that the structure of toxic RNAs has a significant role in controlling the onset of neuromuscular diseases.

SUBMITTER: deLorimier E 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4227782 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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